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The Minga: Dining Farm To Table in Haldimand County

Written by: Lacie Williamson for Live Small Town Magazine &  Haldimand County Tourism

Looking for something healthy and local? We have a bajillion places to suit all tastes and budgets. Here is just one delicious option.

Funny Name – Serious Community Mission. There is no literal translation of the Mayan word “Minga” but the idiomatic translation is “working together for the greater good.”

The Minga is an inclusive, accessible cafe and community centre on Queen St. in Dunnville, Ontario in Haldimand County where people of all ages and abilities come together to enjoy healthy, locally sourced, organic, handcrafted food (including vegan donuts) and fair trade organic coffee and tea.

Behind the counter, you can find a Pay-It-Forward (PIF) board where patrons choose to pay for food and beverages for those less fortunate. All you have to do is ask for something off the PIF Menu – no questions asked.

The cafe features a rustic harvest table; exposed brick walls with art by local artists, and a variety of mixed and matched furniture. There is a cozy space for everyone to curl up and enjoy conversation, a library of books about social justice, health and the environment; board games, and a piano.

You don’t have to worry about arriving empty-handed. Even if you do, you’re sure to strike up a conversation with someone, whether it is the cafe’s regulars or the friendly baristas.

The Minga has a market where local entrepreneurs can sell their goods, including Belove Soaps by Community Living Haldimand, clothing and accessories by Roaming Mama, skincare by Moyaa Shea Butter, and fair trade accessories and gifts from Global H.E.A.R.T.S.

Another way The Minga fosters the growth of locally owned small businesses is by offering cooperative workspaces available for rent, and a private meeting space, although many local organizations and groups love to meet around the harvest table.

The Minga, a non-profit business, was opened in Nov. 2013, in association with D.R.E.A.M. In 2010, D.R.E.A.M. helped open Shared Harvest Community Farm and Educational Centre, which supplies most of the fresh organic produce used to make the delicious items on the Minga menu. D.R.E.A.M. is an educational mentorship and bursary program with a travel component, initiated in 2001, offered to Dunnville-area secondary students.

Senior students are invited to travel to Ek Belam, Mexico during their March break where they stay at an eco-resort in close proximity to a Mayan village. Students learn about Mayan culture and how to act locally and impact globally in a sustainable manner. The program’s experiences in Mexico inspired the name of The Minga.

Read more articles celebrating local spaces, eats and people in Live Small Town Magazine.